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As Allen Ginsberg talks about his life and art, his most famous poem is illustrated in animation while the obscenity trial of the work is dramatized.

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(written for the screen by), (written for the screen by)
2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Todd Rotondi ...
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Heather Klar ...
Kaydence Frank ...
Allen's Girlfriend (as Kadance Frank)
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Joe Toronto ...
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Nancy Spence ...
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Storyline

It's San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial. Howl, the film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society's reaction (the obscenity trial), and animation that echoes the poem's surreal style. All three coalesce in hybrid that dramatizes the birth of a counterculture. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Obscenity Trial That Started a Revolution. The Poem That Rocked a Generation.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including language and images, and for some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

27 August 2010 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Uivo  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$51,185 (USA) (24 September 2010)

Gross:

$617,334 (USA) (4 February 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in 14 days around New York City in March/April 2009. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Allen Ginsberg: "Howl" for Carl Salomon. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...
[continues reading but unheard, credits roll]
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Soundtracks

Uptown Boogie
Written by Teddy Lasry
ZFC Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of FirstCom Music
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User Reviews

 
Angel Headed Hipsters
12 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wonderfully evocative faux-documentary that showcases the poem. The animation sequences stick close to the literal denotation of the textual images. Some have found that approach unsympathetic, but I disagree. Part of what I love about the poem is its twisting of banality into surrealist mysticism (Plotinus in Oklahoma, Blake in the heavens over New Jersey and demon Moloch on Madison Avenue). The contrast between the intensely colored fantasy animation and the back-and-forth to black-and-white convey that contrast nicely. Others would like to see something else; let them make something else.

David Strathairn as the prosecutor is wonderful. The scene when he inadvertently (I assume) falls into Ginsberg-ian imagery ("When I open my mouth, fists come out") is worth the whole price of admission.


16 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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